Bain, Euphemia Mitchell, “Pioneer Sketch,” in Daughters of Utah Pioneers (Salt Lake City, Utah), Scrapbooks.
At Iowa City we secured hand carts, and packing in our few belongings we started on the long journey to Zion. We left Iowa City July 15, 1856, with 120 hand carts, and six wagons. Mrs. Bain and her daughters and I pulled one cart. The weather was very hot at times and we suffered considerably but we got along fine for some time, compared with what came to us later. Out on the plains we camped in a grove and soon discovered a band of Indians camped in the same grove. We were afraid, but Brother Willie tried to encourage us by saying that as their women and children were with them they would do us no harm. We made presents to them of each articles as we could spare. A guard was set around the camp that night. In the morning the Indians were gone. The captain said he thought they were up to something. We kept a careful watch for them all of that day, but saw nothing of them. That night two men with the mail overtook us. They had two span of mules and a buckboard. We were glad of their company. In the morning they went on. When we had traveled about five miles Captain Willie who was riding some distance ahead of the company came riding back and held up his hand for the company to halt. He called some of the men to come to him. They went, and a number of women went also. I was equally curious to see what was up. There we found the bodies of the mail carriers who had left us that morning. The Indians had killed them and taken the mules and every thing of value. We dug graves and buried them the best we could, wrapping them in sheets and quilts which we could ill-afford to spare.
Our food now began to run short, and we were put on short rations. We did not have flour to make bread and made a sort of gruel which we had to live on from day to day. We had a terrible time. For two days we had a soda cracker each. Captain Willie tried to encourage us, but things looked gloomy indeed. Deaths were occurring nearly every day. It began to snow and at night we had to sweep the snow away to make down our beds. In sorrow and hunger and falling strength we tugged at our hand carts, hardly able to get them up the little hills.
One day we saw a dust coming towards us from the west. It was a lone horseman. It proved to be Brother Wheelock. He called to us and told us help was near. He stood by and said how he never expected to see brethren and sisters in such a condition as we were. Tears ran down his cheeks as he spoke to us and encouraged us, saying help would reach us in two hours, and we should have plenty to eat.
Help did come in the shape of several wagon loads of provisions, clothing, etc. We were allowed one pound of flour in the morning and the same in the evening. The wagons went on to help the Martin company which was behind us. Other help came to us as we went on, but the weather tuned very cold and many froze their feet, and many others died. The Lord blessed our little band, the widow Bain, her daughters and I. We suffered hunger, thirst, and fatigue, but were well, and none of us froze our feet. We all came through safe and sound. we started with about 500 souls, and 66 died on the journey.
We reached Salt Lake City November 11, 1856. When I left Scotland I had five pairs of shoes, but when I reached Salt Lake City I had to tie grass around them to hold them together.
While away out on the plains we met a company of Elders going east on missions. Lorenzo Hatch was with them. He had known Mrs. Bain’s son, at Lehi and he hunted us up and told us Robert had a room ready for us at Lehi. Robert had came out to meet us and met us at Green River with a team and we tied our cart behind the wagon, and we got a chance to ride once in a while after that.